By MICHAEL FRANCA
Colin Kaepernick, however you may feel about him, undeniably started a movement across the sporting landscape that shows no signs of slowing down.
His public protest sparked responses (both in support of and against him) from people involved in every major North American sport. From Megan Rapinoe in soccer, to Adam Jones and Tony La Russa in baseball, John Tortorella in hockey, and now Golden State Coach Steve Kerr (among others) in basketball.
The reaction to each of these people, however, has varied. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Steve Kerr and Colin Kapernick — who are sharing similar messages — have received very different public feedback.
While Kerr may not have made the same grandiose gesture Kaepernick did, he still expressed many of the same sentiments.
“No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, I would hope that every American is disgusted with what is going on around the country, with what happened in Tulsa two days ago, Terrence Cutcher … Unarmed black people are being killed indiscriminately around the country. And that’s what happened two days ago. That’s the message. That’s what matters. The other stuff you can talk about all day. Nobody is right. Nobody is wrong,” Kerr stated.
He even goes on to mention Kaepernick by name and cosign his movement. He says that the statement is “what our country is about” and praises the merits of the nonviolent protest.
The feedback Kerr, a white male, has gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. A simple search of his name on Twitter will yield nearly nothing but positive comments.
Do the same with Kaepernick, however, and the story is much different. The result will be endless streams of hate and death threats – something he publicly acknowledged – sprinkled with little rational commentary.
This discrepancy is both predictable and disturbing. Both men shared honest, eloquent, and important statements to shed light on a troubling situation.
The backlash that only one of them received serves as a fitting juxtaposition. It only adds more evidence of the discrimination that these men are commenting on.